Two years into his nursing career, Fernando Rodriguez, RN, reflects on his journey to becoming a registered nurse. He started as a technical partner, working with various specialties at LVHN.
In 2014, he joined Comprehensive Health Services as a community health worker and his goals changed. “I saw the barriers our patients experienced and I was inspired to do something about it,” says Rodriguez. “I knew I wanted to serve patients at Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–17th Street.”
He decided to pursue a career in nursing. “It was a long road, but it was worth it,” he says.
Patient care and more
Rodriguez now works as a nurse in the emergency room (ER) at LVH–17th Street.
“We take care of walk-in emergencies. We stabilize patients who require a higher level of care and partner with our MedEvac colleagues to transfer patients to LVH–Cedar Crest, a Level I Trauma Center, where they can get the most appropriate treatment,” he says. “We also see patients who are ill and don’t know what’s going on–patients who use the ER as their primary care provider.”
When Rodriguez delivers routine care in the ER, he provides education and helps coordinate resources. “I like to be part of our patients’ journeys. I get to talk to them about their progress and changes they’ve made,” he says. “We work closely with our colleagues in the LVHN Street Medicine Program, Community Health and Wellness Services, Center for Women’s Medicine and Comprehensive Health Services to help connect our patients with the resources they need to sustain their health and well-being long term.”
What it means to be Magnet
LVHN’s Nurse Residency Program was the first nurse residency program in Pennsylvania to receive “Accreditation with Distinction” from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Nurse residents participate in evidence-based projects.
Rodriguez’s project, “Building Confidence in Emergency Department Nurses Caring for Patients Who Identify as Transgender,” earned second place at the Pennsylvania State Nursing Association (PSNA) Summit in 2019.
“As a Magnet nurse, my input is valued,” he says. “I received incredible support from LVHN’s Center for Professional Excellence as well as LVHN’s Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Liaison, Judith Sabino,” he says. “I took great pride in showcasing my work at the state conference.”
As he mentors nurse residents, he reminds them it’s important to take care of themselves. “Have patience with your patients and yourself. Be critical of yourself, but be kind to yourself,” he says. “Always try to improve your skills as you adapt to your new environment and work processes.”